Sterling: I was saving my first Rangers goal for a big European night

The 24-year-old scored Rangers' second goal against Benfica.

Dujon Sterling: I was saving my first Rangers goal for a big European night SNS Group

Dujon Sterling told his Rangers team-mates that Europe would be the scene of his first goal and he delivered in a 2-2 draw with Benfica on Thursday night.

Tom Lawrence’s header gave the visitors an early lead in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie in Lisbon, while Ibrox defender John Souttar was judged to have handled inside the penalty area just before half-time.

Argentina World Cup winner Angel Di Maria scored from the resulting spot-kick before Sterling stunned the Estadio da Luz by knocking in a deflected cross from Portuguese attacker Fabio Silva. But Gers defender Connor Goldson headed into his own net in the second half to level matters.

Sterling, 24, who signed for the Light Blues from Chelsea last summer after loan spells at Coventry, Wigan, Blackpool and Stoke, enjoyed scoring his first senior goal and told Rangers TV: “I told the boys before that I was saving my first goal for a big game in Europe.

“I saw Fabio Silva cut back on his right foot and I knew he was going to put it into the box.

“So, I made a late dart from the edge of the box and I didn’t think anyone would track me and it found its way to me and I was in the right place at the right time.

“It was just before the break and gave us a lot of confidence going into half-time and it crushed the momentum they had.

“We had some unforced errors that cost us for their goals, but all-in-all, we played well and we have given ourselves a chance next week at home.”

It is all to play for at Ibrox next Thursday night with a quarter-final place at stake but first Hibernian await in Sunday’s Scottish Gas Scottish Cup last-eight meeting at Easter Road.

Sterling said: “We tried to be defensively sound and I thought we did well dealing with what they were bringing.

“In the second half you could see we were a bit leggy and when we got the ball, we were turning it over a bit too quickly.

“But hopefully next week we can do better but overall we did well.

“There are a lot of positives to take from this game but we have Hibs next and we want to go far in that cup and get to a final.

“So we will dust ourselves down, this game is finished and we go onto the next one from now.”

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